The surging New York Yankees can clinch a fifth straight series victory when they host the Baltimore Orioles in the third of a four-game series Saturday afternoon. Didi Gregorius homered and drove in four runs in the Yankees’ 8-2 rout of the sinking Orioles on Friday, which came on the heels of New York’s 13-5 cakewalk in the series opener.
The Yankees are averaging 6.9 runs during a 10-3 burst that has kept them within striking distance in the American League East and solidly atop the heap in the AL wild-card race. Aaron Judge was held hitless Friday but drew a pair of walks and scored twice, giving him 29 runs in 17 games against Baltimore this year. Chase Headley had three hits and an RBI for New York and is hitting .365 during a season-high 13-game hitting streak. The Orioles have lost eight of their last nine to fall 5 1/2 games out of a wild-card spot with 14 to play.
TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, MASN (Baltimore), YES (New York)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Jeremy Hellickson (8-9, 5.23 ERA) vs. Yankees LH Jordan Montgomery (7-7, 4.24)
Hellickson lasted just 2 1/3 innings against the Yankees at home two turns ago, giving up three earned runs and two hits with four walks. He rebounded to post a quality start at Cleveland on Sunday but still lost to fall to 2-4 since joining the Orioles at the trade deadline. The 30-year-old is 4-2 with a 3.60 ERA in 10 career games (eight starts) against New York.
Montgomery has failed to get through five innings in three consecutive starts, during which he has posted a 6.75 ERA. Included in the rocky stretch was a 4 2/3-inning outing at Camden Yards on Sept. 4, when the South Carolina native let up a pair of earned runs. Montgomery has a 3.43 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 21 innings over four starts versus Baltimore this year.
1. The Yankees were fined an undisclosed amount for improper use of a dugout phone prior to this season as part of MLB’s investigation into recent accusations of sign stealing made by both Boston and New York.
2. Baltimore has been held to two or fewer runs seven times during its 1-8 slide.
3. New York manager Joe Girardi on Friday became the sixth skipper in franchise history to win 900 games.
PREDICTION: Yankees 7, Orioles 4